During the mid-1950’s a musical innovator was making waves in jazz music by playing the organ. Jimmy Smith had sonically taken the Hammond B-3 and played with either a quartet or trio that changed and gave way for how blues, gospel, soul, and jazz music was played forever. Although the organ trio wasn’t nothing new at the time, Jimmy took what heard from his influences like Wild Bill Davis, Count Basie, and Fats Waller and did some heavy woodshedding in 1955 after he bought his first Hammond organ. Smith decided to rent some warehouse space and set up shop for a year in New York City. In that year he’d transform himself with sound and work ethic that was unparalleled for its time in its time. One night Alfred Lion, president of Blue Note Records, saw Jimmy play at a nightclub in Philadelphia and the rest is what we call, history. From 1956 until 1962, Jimmy recorded an unprecedented 40 recordings for Blue Note including the landmark “The Champ,” “Midnight Special,” and “The Sermon.”
As the 1950’s gave way to the 1960’s, Smith’s recordings influenced the next generation of Hammond organ players and would allow other icons give way to their own style of playing that would become the rage during the decade. Organists like Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Don Patterson, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Shirley Scott, Charles Earland, and Trudy Pitts gave the organ trio and quartet a mainstay in modern and contemporary jazz music. Other soloists became the rage like guitarists like Kenny Burrell, Pat Martino, George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, and Melvin Sparks.
Last Monday I witnessed one of few great jazz organ trios’ as they made their New York City debut at Dizzy’s. Harlem, New York native Bobby Broom is no stranger to jazz music. His Deep Blue Organ Trio raised the roof to two sold-out shows and had music fans on pins and needles as the talented and gifted Chris Foreman took his organ skills to the days of Jack McDuff and the soulness Jimmy McGriff. Drummer Greg Rockingham swings like no tomorrow and keep the unit on alert when they played the upbeat material of both sets.
This performance was also the record release party for The Deep Blue Organ Trio’s new Origin Records release for “Wonderful!” Guitarist and leader Bobby Broom wanted to pay tribute to the legendary soul singer as well as his hero by picking some the trio’s favorite Stevie Wonder songs. “I’ve always played some of Stevie’s music in both the Deep Blue Organ Trio setting as well as my guitar trio.”
Whether jazz guitarist Bobby Broom is heading his own trio or playing as a sideman for the legendary Sonny Rollins, his approach to the music is honest and humbling. While in high school, he took the guitar very seriously and began to play professionally. One day saxophonist Sonny Rollins overheard him play and asked the young Broom to audition for has band. He got the job, but had to turn it down because he was 17 years old. While in college he got a better education playing with some of the legendary artists. Throughout his career he’s played with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Hugh Masakela, Donald Byrd, Miles Davis, Charles Earland, Stanley Turrentine, Dr. John, Tom Browne, and Kenny Burrell.
Bobby currently plays with two groups. The Deep Blue Organ Trio and his trio featuring Kobie Watkins on drums and Ed Carroll on bass. His last disc “Bobby Broom Plays For Monk” was another tribute record to the legendary pianist Thelonious Monk.
Bobby and The Deep Blue Organ Trio are currently opening for rock group Steely Dan and will be appearing at a city near you. To order “Wonderful!” please visit them on the web at thedeepblueorgantrio.com.
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